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Canada's Biggest City Enters Virus Lockdown

Canada's Biggest City Enters Virus Lockdown

Monday, 23 November, 2020 - 09:15
Graveyard workers in full prtective gear move a coffin in Bogor, Indonesia. AFP

Canada's Toronto entered lockdown on Monday in the latest bid to curb coronavirus infections, with case numbers surging across North America even as US officials said vaccinations could be available within weeks.

Encouraging results from several vaccine trials have raised hopes of a decisive shift in the battle against a disease that has claimed around 1.4 million lives worldwide in the last year.

But seesawing restrictions and lockdowns in countries that successfully contained earlier outbreaks -- shattering lives and economies in the process -- have highlighted the ongoing risk of contagion.

The biggest city in Canada had banned private indoor gatherings and capped the size of weddings and funerals for four weeks from midnight, with officials warning that hospitals risked being overwhelmed without quick action.

"I've been clear on this: the situation is extremely serious and further action is required," Ontario premier Doug Ford had told journalists ahead of the lockdown.

Officials had forecast more than 400,000 new infections a week across Canada by the end of the year without new restrictions -- more than the total number of cases recorded nationwide since the start of the pandemic.

Australia's second-largest city, meanwhile, continued its slow emergence from a gruelling four-month lockdown that saw four million people confined to their homes, with authorities lifting a ban on travel across state borders.

Margaret Forster of Melbourne told national broadcaster ABC that she had been allowed to drive into New South Wales for the first time since June.

"When I went across the border I beeped the horn, 'Yahoo!'," she said.

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